GUEST COLUMNIST: Former mayor defends bylaw boss

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by Dave Lovell

I am writing with respect to the investigations surrounding Doug Gillard, head of the Municipal Enforcement Division.

The current situation was precipitated by the belief of certain members of council that a previous investigation had been mishandled and that Mr. Gillard has been whitewashed. It was based on allegations by a disgruntled former staff member. At the time of this former employee’s termination, Yellowknifer was one of his most severe critics. It would have been fair to note the possible bias by this employee against his former boss early in your coverage of the current matter.

An independent investigation cleared city staff of the above allegations. However, two experienced directors who had no reported blame assigned to them resigned over the way city council dealt with this matter. The investigation has not done much to contribute to good city government and, depending on your point of view, could make city council appear vindictive. The way this has been handled doesn’t make sense for anyone considering re-election.

Next, reporters contacted former and current city staff to determine their opinion of Doug Gillard. I believe that the contacts were reasonable in the circumstances, but the reporting presentation left the impression that the bylaw division was a toxic workplace. How many were contacted, how many were active supporters, how many were negative and how many refused to become involved? In any event, 10 of 12 current employees of the division, both male and female, have come out in active support. I don’t know the employees’ reasons, but those are the numbers and I consider that a pretty good ratio.

When it became obvious that the original investigation might exonerate city staff, it was expanded by city council and it was found that city surveillance cameras “most likely” were misused. Thus, some dirt was found to justify the investigation expenditure. If true, this is a bad thing, but how do you prove or disprove it? Everyone with access to the system is a potential wrongdoer. If the intent is to ruin Doug Gillard’s reputation and demoralize city staff, then the current city council has gone a long way towards achieving this goal.

Finally, in my opinion, bullying and harassment has taken place. Doug Gillard is most likely the primary victim.

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